As a professional procrastinator extraordinaire, I feel qualified to attest to the late night frenzy that includes a blank computer screen and frazzled nerves. As we have all experienced this once or twice, there are some of us who make a habit of this midnight-scramble. These 2AM papers to lead us to less-than-desirable work and a feeling of doubt (not to mention extreme mental and physical fatigue). The question is not how do I avoid them, but how do I go about making sure that severely procrastinated papers don't happen at all?
The answer my friends is scheduling. But what exactly does that entail?
By scheduling I mean break up your work into smaller and more manageable pieces. For example, you can't eat an entire steak in one bite! You have to cut it into smaller pieces and work your way towards finishing the entire piece. Start out tiny! Don't have a topic or unsure about what to write? Designate one night to thinking about what you're going to do or e-mail your teacher for clarification. After that stop. Take a break. Put down your pencil and begin something else. The next night (once you've had time to sleep on it/ time for your teacher to reply to your e-mail) start with your thesis; a single sentence! The next night, compile an outline integrating what you already know about your topic and your sources. Continue breaking your paper up into sections until you have the entire assignment written. And voila, in a week to two weeks you have your paper. Remember though, to win the battle against procrastination you have to fight with heavy armor: allotted time and breaks in between sections.
However, The reason that I, and probably most of us for that matter, put off a paper is because we are uninterested in the topic, hate to write, or have no idea where to start. Allotting yourself a designated time to work on your paper is half the battle. Make sure you are in a distraction free zone and sit down. Literally forcing yourself into a situation where there is nothing else to focus on forces you to do the one thing you are meant to get done. Just remember that the only thing you really need (besides a pencil, paper, sources, etc...) is scheduled time. As long as time is on your side, you can do anything.
Go confidently in your writing and best of luck!